Saturday, November 21, 2020

Vale Karl Schwesinger, footballer and coach

Photo:  Karl Schwesinger with his trademark smile conveying his marvellous sense of humour [PlessPix]

Karl Schwesinger, one of Tasmanian football’s most successful players and coaches, has passed away in Hobart.

Schwesinger, 80, a skilled pastry chef from Vienna, came to Tasmania from Austria in 1960 and played with Rapid, a club founded by Austrian and German immigrants a couple of years before.

He played for Rapid, Rangers, Juventus, Olympia, South Hobart, White Eagles and Eastern Suburbs in an illustrious career which saw him represent Tasmania three times, including against overseas sides Cardiff City and an English FA XI.

In 1966, he was named as the player-of-the-year by The Saturday Evening Mercury.

He coached Juventus to the club’s first-ever league title in 1969 in what was his first coaching assignment.

Schwesinger’s coaching knowledge came, as he himself said, by watching the work of top coaches such as Alex Sarfalvy and Peter Cagialis.

In four years of coaching, from 1969 to 1972, he won two State premierships.

After coaching Juventus, he coached South Hobart for a season and then took the reins at White Eagles.

Schwesinger won the prestigious Rothmans Gold Medal in 1972, when he was player-coach of South Hobart.  The award was in its second year and was won the previous year by another South Hobart player-coach, John Kirkpatrick, who passed away earlier this year.

Schwesinger was versatile as a player and during his career he played as a winger, fullback, centre-forward and centre-half.

As a player, he played in five premiership sides  -  three with Olympia and one each with Juventus and Rapid.

He had been a regular spectator at local games, together with his wife Ros, during the past few years following the formation of the Victory League in 2013.

He missed the 2020 season because of illness and passed away last Wednesday.

Photo:  Karl Schwesinger (left) enjoying a cup of coffee while watching a game at KGV Park with former Rapid team-mate Walter Nikolai [PlessPix]

Some of my friends and I often stood with Karl at games at KGV Park, South Hobart, Warrior Park, Lightwood Park and Wentworth Park and we missed him this season.

We would have long chats with him about football nowadays and about his past experiences.

He sometimes brought bags of apples for us from his large orchard at Margate, where he lived.  On occasions, he would provide Viennese pastry delicacies.

He worked at Cadbury’s and Silk & Textiles, and even drove taxis, before starting up his own pastry business, which proved enormously popular as his experience as a Viennese pastry chef and confectioner came to the fore.

Karl will be missed and I am sure that readers who knew him will join with me in offering sincere condolences to Ros and their family.



Dale Blake said...

A true gentleman. RIP

Unknown said...

A wonderful person

Danny Donohoe said...

A wonderful man

Phil Owen said...

Played with him in rep. sides and Juventus’ 1969 premiership team and sat with him and Ros at Warrior Park, KGV and South Hobart last year. Karl was always the true gentleman. RIP

John McDougall said...

Karl was my next door neighbour growing up as a kid, a kind man and a great pastry chef, an enthusiast of football and a loving husband and father. RIP

Unknown said...

Thank you Walter for writing such lovely things and thank you to all who have commented.
We are having a memorial this Thursday at 10.30am at the Australian Italian Club. We are hoping that people will come and share memories with each other and our family.
Thank you again Walter